Tasting Notes

Wine Reviews

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2006 Unti Vineyards – Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

This wine is actually a blend: 88% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Syrah and 3% Barbera. And what a marvelous blend it is – a refined wine that might even be a bit sophisticated for a Super Bowl party, but an indulgence I surely wouldn’t forgo. Yes, I did decant it and I was glad to have done so, as it allowed the wine to unfold in the most beautiful way. The aromas swirling in the glass are seductive enough to make you close your eyes as you take it all in – it’s all about dark fruit, cherry and vanilla. In the mouth, though, the fruit intensifies while subtle notes of spice and anise are revealed. The wine pairs perfectly with the chili, but it’s one you’ll want to keep sipping long after the meal is over. Winemaker Mick Unti says he wishes he could make Zinfandel like this every year… and so, I’m quite sure, will you! Check out the full article on Big Chili and Bold Wines.
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2007 Joel Gott, Zinfandel, Mohr-Fry Ranches, Lodi

This small-production bottling of 60- to 85-year-old vines from the Mohr-Fry ranches is simply spectacular. One sniff of this wine and I was seduced! Deep aromas of dark berry, currant and mocha make you want to sink your nose deeper in your glass, until the urge to taste it takes over. A gorgeous mouthful: this is a beautiful, smooth and complex wine with dark, juicy fruit notes up front and clove, cedar and even a hint of roasted coffee in the finish. The marvelous thing here is that the wine picks up all the roasted spices and the smokiness of the chili, making them come alive with every bite. Check out the full article on Big Chili and Bold Wines.
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2006 Vinum Cellar – Zin 91, Old Vine Zinfandel

This small artisanal winery with an Old World approach to winemaking has always been a favorite of mine. It doesn’t hurt that winemakers Richard Bruno and Chris Condos have loads a humor to go with their talent! “Quality, Value, Fun” are the three words that greet you on their home page, and they certainly live up to it—the quirky label alone of the Zin 91 will prompt a smile. But at $15 a bottle, this is not just a fun wine, it’s one that really delivers for the bucks. On the nose, it has typical Zin aromas: cherries, plums and dark fruits – altogether quite pleasing. In the mouth, the dark fruits are the first thing you’ll taste, but they’re quickly followed by spicy notes, a hint of licorice and an ever-so-slight bitter finish. It’s a chewy wine with good tannins and a smooth texture that make the spices in the chili come to life with each sip—a wine that can be enjoyed all night long (no matter how long those “football minutes” turn out to be!). Check out the full article on Big Chili and Bold Wines.
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2007 Liberty School Central Coast Syrah

First Aromas of cedar and cherry, followed by the promise of earthiness. Later, candied florals emerge. Deep plum red color with an undertone of brown bears out the promise: this is European-style in flavor and acidity, but New World in its apparent low tannins and mild finish.
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2005 Journey’s End Cabernet Sauvignon

Some age to the Cab here; evident in a beautifully developed, complex aroma. A strong, muscular lad is this, a firm tannic structure only slightly mellowed by age, holding, like Atlas, a world of herb and liquorice edged black fruit compote, all encased in a dusty-brick whole. A tight, food-hungry, belt of acidity and a decently long length complete the statuesque whole. Alcohol 14.5%. Comprised of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon plus 8% Merlot. For other wines on this producer, see this Selection on Spittoon.